Everyone Needs to Lose

When I was five or six I remember visiting my sweet Grandmother Mima. She was a world class game player. We would play grown up card games and she would beat me. If I started to sniffle she would swiftly raise her pointer finger in the air and sternly say, “no crying!”

I would pull it together and play another round with her, mostly getting beaten, but never quitting. It was the best life lesson. No participation trophy for me.

I was telling my Mah Jongg students today that they are going to lose 78% of the time. With four people playing you are only entitled to win 25% of the time, but in Mah Jongg sometimes no one wins so that ups your loss rate. There is also no second place in Mah Jongg so you either win or you lose, deal with it. And players do, most graciously congratulate the winner and move on to play another game and try and win that one.

There is a guy in New Mexico all over the news this week who was arrested for shooting up the homes of political opponents he lost to. It was reported that he lost badly, but he was a sore loser and turned to violence. This guy needed more practice losing in his life. One needs to learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and you learn so much more from your losses than you do from your wins.

Children should have to play board games in school so they can build up a thick skin when they lose. Doing it on videos does not have the same effect. You need to look your opponent in the eye and shake their hand, regardless of the outcome. The world would be a much more civil place if we all played games together.

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